From Pop To The Pit: Photo Exhibition Chronicles The LA Music Scene In The 1980’s

Van Halen at the Forum. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Van Halen at the Forum, 1984. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Anthony Kiedis and Flea. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Anthony Kiedis and Flea, 1989. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Dickies show. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Dickies show, 1989. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Southern California, thanks to its diverse landscape, has always enjoyed a wide variety of musical genres. Los Angeles in the 1980’s saw a kaleidoscope of tunes, and different beach communities, the Valley, South Central, the Inland Empire and East LA each had its own form of local music. Plus, since the late 60’s, a growing number of major record labels had/were setting up their headquarters there. Coupled with an abundance of clubs, Los Angeles become the epicenter of the music industry.

So, not surprisingly, major rock groups did very well in Los Angeles – devoted fans packed their venues. While the alternative scene got less coverage, the free press such as L.A. Weekly, the L.A. Reader, BAM, Rock City News, and Music Connection provided the recaps and nightly gigs around the town.

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) culled from their Herald Examiner photo archive and worked with the Gary Leonard Collection, LAPL and Photo Friends to present From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989. The images show the diversity of the decade as well as the different groups who had hit singles, infamous moments, and thrilled countless fans.

If you’re local to Los Angeles, stop by and see the exhibition at the LAPL History & Genealogy Department from January 8  to June 28, 2015. In addition, there’s a companion catalog available for purchase on Amazon.

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Bart Erkamp’s Photos Prove That Pole Dancing Is A Sport

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In recent years, the rising popularity of pole dance fitness has probably conjured up images of darkened strip clubs rather than a serious workout. Netherlands-based Bart Erkamp thought the former, but during the summer of last year, his attitude changed. He dated a woman involved in the sport and learned about its inner workings. It’s a physically demanding activity that’s much more than just an erotic dance. His series titled Pole Fitness highlights the strength and talent needed to complete the moves, which are often suspended in air.

After learning about the sport, Erkamp attended a championship pole fitness competition in Amsterdam. The power and agility of the athletes impressed him, and this struck him as comparable to “artistic gymnastics,” that highlights physical prowess and self expression.

In addition to their athletics, Erkamp was enthralled by the dedication of the participants. They’ve installed poles in their bedrooms, living rooms, and even next to their kitchen. Location doesn’t matter. He highlights this in his subjects’ clear, neatly-kept homes. Contorted legs, torsos, and arms are wrapped around bright silver poles.

It’s not all women, either. Erkamp explains that in 2014, several men completed at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. And, there’s even a possibility that it’ll be an official Olympic sport in 2016. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Kacper Kowalski’s Mesmerizing Photos Of The Polish Forest From Bird’s Eye View

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Photographer Kacper Kowalski captures life from above in these beautiful images of the Polish woodlands. The bird’s eye view features incredible, vibrant shots that are simultaneously recognizable and abstract. Brilliant greens, blues, pinks, and purples dot the landscape and play with our sense of scale. Trees look minuscule in many of the compositions, like they’re pipe cleaners or tiny army.

There’s a divide in many of Kowalski’s photos whether it by a river, a road, or line of trees. This separated area creates a pause or compositional breath. We’re often overwhelmed by texture or patterns. The photographer’s decision to include these areas allows time for reflection and comparison. How are the two spaces different? How are they same? What does it mean for them to coexist? (via a_a)

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Rob MacInnis Captures Farm Animals In Family-Like Photos

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Brooklyn-based photographer Rob MacInnis captures candid portraits of farm animals in his aptly titled Farm Series. The desaturated, vintage-looking photos provide a nostalgic and straightforward view of cows, horses, goats, and more. Staring completely calm at the camera, they pose for family photos in barns and in the wilderness. Sometimes, MacInnis will also highlight a single animal in up-close and personal portraiture. It showcases their wild, textured hair and kind eyes.

There’s something that’s delightfully ordinary about these photos. They aren’t flashy or bursting with color. Instead, they depict a simpler life that’s unfettered by technology and dense cityscapes. It’s as if by looking at these images, we’re reminded of old family portraits – ones where we’re younger and things didn’t seem so complicated. (Via I need a guide)

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Stefanie Herr’s Photographic Sculptures Resemble Topographic Maps

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Artist Stefanie Herr’s topographic artworks are inspired by maps. When traveling, she writes, they facilitate navigation and orientation, and drawings by cartographers are the starting point of her work. To create her sculptures, images are printed on photographic paper, mounted on matboard, hand cut into tiny pieces and assembled. They resemble maps that show changes in elevation once completed. But, instead of rivers, plains, and mountains, Herr features faces of people.

She calls these pieces experiments on landscapes models that merge photography and sculpture. They often take weeks to complete. In an artist statement, Herr writes:

Photography abandons the two-dimensional plane and sets out to conquer the space. In search of suitable maps, however, I do not only focus on the shape of the terrain, but also on place names. As toponyms can inspire strong images or even stories, they often interfere in the development of my projects. When shooting photos, I mainly choose top, side and front view representations – I particularly like making use of “aerial” views on a scale of 1:1.

In addition to this inspiration, Herr is also concerned about environmental degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity. She further explains:

Unique natural heritage is gradually being depleted or replaced for the mere purpose of economic growth, and it seems that we have completely forgotten about the aesthetic values of landscape. As a world citizen, I am concerned about contemporary landscape change and the prevailing landscape perception. Topographic Fine Art mainly deals with these issues and, even though on a reduced scale, attempts to capture some of the natural beauty that surrounds us. (Via Lustik)

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Amos Chapple Documents Life In The Coldest Village On Earth

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It might be winter where you live, but the cold that you experience probably doesn’t compare to this. New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple went on a two-day journey from Yakutsk, the coldest major city on Earth to Oymyakon, the coldest village on Earth. Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature is -67.7°C (-90°F) in 1933 while the average for January is -50°C (-60°F). Despite the intense weather, people have forged homes and lives in these places, and Chapple captures them in an unfiltered, documentary-style way. Just looking at them will send chills up your spine.

Residents of this extreme climate adapted to these conditions with little indoor plumbing. Vehicles that are outside heated garages must keep running to avoid freezing. And, their subsistence is meat because the ground is too cold to grow crops.

Chapple gives us some idea of just what this cold felt like, and he tells “I was wearing thin trousers when I first stepped outside into – 47 °C (-52°F). I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs, the other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips.” And for him, the hardest part of the experience was not the cold, but that his camera’s focus would freeze into place! (via Bored Panda)

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The Brilliant, Natural Colors Of The Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Photo credit:  Jordi Guzmán

Photo credit: Jordi Guzmán

Photo credit: Ikka on Flickr

Photo credit: Ikka on Flickr

Photo credit: Meiguo Xing

Photo credit: Meiguo Xing

Photo credit: Yunnan Adventure

Photo credit: Yunnan Adventure

These majestic, bird’s eye view images are of the remote Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces located in China’s Yunnan province. Small bodies of water are punctuated by the bold lines that create the terraces, and they signify the harmony of man and nature. Their brilliant colors and complex designs give them the appearance of abstract paintings rather than natural splendor.

The 1,300-year-old terraces cover 461 square kilometers, and are said to display the best-developed in three valleys. And although it’s hard to tell from these photos, they cascade from a summit of 2,000 meters above sea level to the base of the Ailao mountain range.

From late April to late September, the Hani people grow red rice. The water from brooks, springs, and rain is collected by forests and distributed through the gravitational system. This accounts for the vibrant grounds we see here. (Via China Discovery Blog and Dana Boulos)

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Rebecca Rütten Uses Greasy Fast Food To Recreate Exquisite Renaissance Paintings

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Photographer Rebecca Rütten is interested in the paintings from the Renaissance period and contemporary fast food culture like Taco Bell and McDonalds. You wouldn’t think that the two would intersect, but in Rütten’s series Contemporary Pieces, they do. The German artist combines elements of the traditional with greasy burgers and fries. ”I became enamored with the eroticism, presentation and charisma of paintings from the Renaissance Period. In the Late Renaissance, Italian and Dutch painters dealt with the middle and lower classes,she writes in a statement about the work. To Rütten, fast food represents the two social groups. “To eat healthy is expensive,” she continues. “However, one can buy large amounts of food at a fast food restaurant for a comparatively low price.” 

Rütten asked tattooed and pierced friends to model for her and recreate the poses of laborers, gypsies, and prostitutes in Caravaggio paintings. The exquisite and dramatic images are simultaneously beautiful and repulsive. For every flower or fancy goblet there are mounds of saturated fat. It’s not only a culture clash, but a fusion of foodstuffs associated with lower class and fine items for the upper crust of society. (Via iGNANT)

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